The Instigator
3_LITTLE_birds
Pro (for)
The Contender
David_Debates
Con (against)

anarchy is the best form of government

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,670 times Debate No: 109881
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

3_LITTLE_birds

Pro

If purpose of government is to organize people for their collective good, and rule by consensus is the best method for doing so, then anarchy best fulfills the purpose of government.

Because anarchy allows for free-association, it enables people to find or create a system of rules which they most agree with. Consensus is also an excellent way to hold others accountable and ensure everyone's needs are met. Anarchy is designed to eliminate hierarchies which lead to inequalities which go against the collective good.
David_Debates

Con

I would ask Pro for definitions before I present a formal argument. In my knowledge of anarchism, it is contradictory to the idea of a government, as such, the resolution "Anarchy is the best form of government" seems to be self-contradictory. I want Pro to have the opportunity to explain what he means by the terms "Government" and "Anarchy." Otherwise, I will offer my definitions of these terms in R2 along with my formal constructive.

With that out of the way, I'll give a brief opening statement with the definitions I am accustomed to.

Anarchy does not bring people together, rather, it tears them apart.

John Locke, a political philosopher, stated that the Government's only purpose ought to be to protect the natural rights of mankind. He states this knowing that there are criminals, those that would take advantage of others if they had the chance, and because of these people, a government is a necessity.

For Pro to state that anarchy allows for people to "find or create a system of rules which they most agree with" is not anarchy, but is the exact definition of a government. A system of rules instated by those that the rules apply to. We have all agreed by participating in a government that we are subject to that government, and all protections and limitations that go with it. The purpose of government is to enforce these rules, but with anarchy, rules cannot be enforced because no government exists. Tyranny of power would overtake morality, ethics, and these rules Pro states would unite us in an anarchy.

Yet with a government, we are truly united. While we may disagree with many things our government does, we must all agree that it protects our natural rights. Criminals are punished, and the law-abiding citizen is kept safe. Our rights are all protected because we all agreed we wanted them protected by a government, not because we wanted to rid ourselves of one.

As such, the best form of government would be a government, not anarchy.

This concludes my opening statement. I look forward to Pro's R2 constructive, as well as an explanation of his definitions.
Debate Round No. 1
3_LITTLE_birds

Pro

Government: a system by which a community of people (actively or passively) consent to be ruled.

Anarchy: a system of rule that's primary goal is to eliminate hierarchy and protect individual liberty. It utilizes non-coercive consensus building as a means of making community decisions--essentially creating a system of rules they agree with. It is not just the absence of government as it is popularly used! Philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre have referred to themselves as anarchists (www.iep.utm.edu/sartre-p/).

Anarchist philosophy holds that states and state institutions inevitably marginalize certain groups of people and because of this, almost every form of government fails to protect the natural rights of many of its citizens. Criminals can still be dealt with in anarchist societies, as we have seen anarchists clashing with sisa drug dealers and working to make life better in poverty-stricken Greece (https://www.nytimes.com...)

As for being united, why is that a goal? The goal is supposed to be the protection of rights. Anarchists form their own republics by freely associating with whatever group they choose to. The United States government of course punishes criminals, but does very poorly at reintegrating these individuals back into society. The recidivism rate for federal prisons is 76% (www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2016/may/5/report-documents-us-recidivism-rates-federal-prisoners). It really doesn"t rehabilitate criminals, it just keeps them incarcerated between crimes. A restorative justice approach which anarchism is conducive to, would probably yield much better results.

In conclusion, anarchy is a different type of government that though unproven, could be the best form of government because it leaves no one out.

Thank you, Con, and I anticipate your response eagerly.
David_Debates

Con

Thank you for your definitions, Pro. I'll argue that anarchy is not the best form of government.

Rebuttals:

Statement: "States and institutions inevitably marginalize certain groups of people, therefore government fails to protect the natural rights of many of its citizens."
Response: This is correct. All governments will inevitably group its citizens into either law abiders or law breakers. The law breakers are punished, and the law abiders retain their rights. The reason for this is because they do not violate the rights of others. Any state, including an anarchistic one by Pro's definition, must either have no power (non-coercive) or have power to protect right (coercive). These are the only two categories for a state. If a state has no power, then rights cannot be protected by that state. If a state has power, it will marginalize groups of people to protect their rights. Pro's argument is unfounded, as the government would have to have power to coerce in order to protect rights, which is contrary to the definition provided by Pro.

Statement: "Criminals are still dealt with in anarchist societies..."
Response: Not a government, Pro. This point is moot, unless Pro can show that Greece is an anarchy. If Pro really wishes to contend that Greece is a good example of an anarchy, then I would ask if anyone would choose to live in Greece over somewhere like the United States or Britain. If Greece is a good example of anarchy, it becomes obvious that anarchy is quite undesirable.

Statement: "We have seen anarchists clashing with sisa drug dealers and working to make life better in poverty-stricken Greece."
Response: We have also seen Catholics working to make life better in poverty-stricken countries, far more than anarchists have (1,2,3). I offer this as the reason a Catholic Theocracy is the best form of government.

Do you see why this argument fails, Pro? Charitable deeds are not examples of governments. They are examples of private charity. This point is irrelevant and does not prove in any way that an anarchy is preferable to any other government that would also allow charity to occur, such as a democracy or theocratic government.

Statement: "Why is being united a goal? The goal is supposed to be the protection of rights."
Response: Because this is the way humanity has survived. Governments have been created to protect their citizens from foreign powers. Theocracies united us. Monarchies united us. Democratic states united us. Which of these is best I will leave up to you, but one thing is certain: removing the power to coerce from these states would disintegrate that unity. One must only look to the Articles of Confederation, enacted before the United States Constitution (4). Under the Articles, all states needed to agree unanimously on policy, which split the states apart into almost separate countries. Lack of power for the federal government to coerce the states lead to not unity, but splitting into factions. No one agreed, therefore no government protections could be offered. With the Constitution, however, the federal government was given power, albeit very limited power, to coerce the states against their will (5). This lead to unity, crafting an effective government still in place today, and probably the single most powerful government that still wholeheartedly protects the rights of its citizens.

As anyone can see, the government must have the power to coerce in order to secure our rights. Without it, governments cannot stop those who wish to violate your rights, as that government is powerless. Your government cannot be disjointed and powerless and still protect your rights, thus, an anarchy is not preferable, let alone the best form of government.

Statement: "The United States government of course punishes criminals, but does very poorly at reintegrating these individuals back into society."
Response: This point is completely irrelevant. Problems in a government's procedure do not invalidate that governmental system. Democracy is not suddenly horrid simply because the US is bad at criminal reintegration. I agree with Pro that we should fix this, that our legislative system ought to enact a law coercing the executive into building a system in our prisons that can better rehabilitate or reintegrate criminals, but this law would only be possible if the government had the power to coerce. An anarchy could not fix this problem, as first, they have no power to imprison or punish others as that would require the power to coerce individuals to do things against their will, and second, the government would have no power to create legislation because it would inevitably require coercion (at least one person would have to do something against their will, such as rehabilitate a criminal they despise). The problem Pro offers, while having merit, can only be solved by a government that has the power to coerce, and by Pro's definition, an anarchy could never solve this problem.

Statement: "A restorative justice approach would probably yield much better results."
Response: No sources, no evidence to show that this system would be better, or what this system would even look like. Yet, I'll take the argument for what it stands and show how anarchy could never have a justice system in the first place.

Anarchy requires lack of any coercive power. A justice system must be contrary to the will of the individual receiving justice (i.e. it is against a thief's will to receive justice). Coercive power being required in order to go against someone's will, an anarchy by Pro's definition can never have a justice system.

Statement: "Anarchy is a different type of government that though unproven, could be the best form of government."
Response: Pro has violated his burden. It is not my burden to prove that some other form of government is better than anarchy, but it is Pro's burden to prove that anarchy is the best form of government. Pro's statement at the end, that anarchy COULD be the best form of government violates the resolution found in this debate, that anarchy IS the best form of government. Pro even admits that this resolution is unproven, admitting that he cannot fulfill his burden of proof. To the voters, I ask that you do not see the all-capitalized words as a violation of conduct, I am only doing so to show the contrast between Pro's statement in R2 and the resolution of this debate.

I await Pro's response.

Sources:
(1) https://www.caritas.org...
(2) https://www.crs.org...
(3) http://www.crosscatholic.org...
(4) http://avalon.law.yale.edu...
(5) http://constitutionus.com...
Debate Round No. 2
3_LITTLE_birds

Pro

First, let me apologize that this is not better organized. I was rushed after I forgot about the debate and was forced to hammer something out before bed.

States discriminate between people on many more levels than just "law abiders" vs "law breakers." Anarchism argues that the institution of the justice system is unacceptably inadequate. Even in the case of law breakers, not all are treated or punished equally. For example, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that black offenders were sentenced to 20% more prison time than white offenders for committing the same crimes.

Anarchism does not create a state, that is part of the whole point of it. Power is concentrated in the freely associated communities, including the power to punish wrongdoers and protect the rights of its members. These communities have members that can act to coerce others to obey the rules of the community.

Greece is certainly not an anarchy, it is closer to a failed state. The economic and political system failed the citizenry, so parts of the society reverted to the most natural form of government--self-government via anarchy. Anarchists are often revolutionaries who despise the inequitable nature of the state's distribution of resources. It was Greece's corrupt democracy and capitalist system that failed the people and led to the need for anarchists to step in to help feed and care for people and deal with wrongdoing drug dealers.

Catholics have worked across the world to provide aid, which is of course noble, however those are outsiders coming in to provide aid--not the countries' own citizens forming a new type of government to address their own needs as is the case of the anarchists in Greece. The US provides monetary aid to many countries around the world, but does anyone believe that this means the US should run the world? No. That sort of patronizing assistance seems leaves the countries beholden to the will of the US, and perhaps even keeps them from developing better economies for themselves. I agree that charitable deeds are not examples of governments--but I think I left out an essential element of government in m earlier definition--a government should provide for the needs of its citizens. The anarchists in Greece are not doing charity, they are taking matters into their own hands because both the state's government and outside charity have not provided for the citizens' needs.

You still don't seem to argue explicitly that unity should be a goal of government. Ironically, the reason America won the Revolutionary War is because it sought the aid of a foreign power, the French, who nullified Britain's extreme naval superiority. Anarchy still allows for trade and relations with other nations as delegates can be chosen by consensus to perform these duties. The constitution had to be unanimously approved--the founding fathers formed a consensus in order to establish this most crucial document, ironically utilizing anarchist methods to form their new state.

I don't believe Con has shown that anarchy does not have the "power to coerce in order to secure rights." Anarchy is both a process and a philosophy, as all forms of government are.

As for your claim that it is irrelevant how well a government reintegrates its criminals into society, is it not a dereliction of duty to protect the criminals' right to rehabilitation if it fails to the degree the U.S. justice system does? I argue that it is failing to protect this right of these citizens. It also fails to protect the rights of immigrants who the state criminalizes. The U.S. state also fails to protect the rights of women needing abortions in Texas. It has also failed to protect the rights of the litany of black men and boys who have been killed by police in recent history. The problem with the state is its priorities are wrong, and I believe this is because a capitalist, indirect and corrupt democracy creates rules that only protect a certain class of its citizens. Now is this inevitable in a democracy? I don't think so. But perhaps it is so with capitalism. I am really an advocate of socialist anarchy, as socialist democracies have the highest happiness indices in the world, they are the closest to the optimum form of government. These citizens are the happiest because they don't have to worry about their rights being tread on.

Con continues to assert that anarchies have no capacity to coerce citizens to act according to rules, however I have already shown that the Greek anarchists punished drug dealers and destroyed their drugs and equipment, proving that anarchists can coerce citizens to follow the law or be punished.

I'm not sure I have done a good job of defining anarchy. "Direct action" is a primary tenant of anarchy. Direct action is simply taking matters into your own hands when the state has failed to protect rights or provide for needs. Handing out food and beating up drug dealers are examples of direct action. This is where the "teeth," or power to coerce, of anarchy comes in (https://plato.stanford.edu...).

Here is a piece of evidence in restorative justice's favor, which I brought up because I consider it a very anarchist form of justice. The mediated group represents a implementation of justice closer to restorative justice.

"Recidivism was examined in four victim-offender mediation sites in the U.S. using comparison groups of referred but non-mediated offenders and non-referred offenders. Eighteen percent of the mediated group of offenders re-offended within one year compared to 27% of the non-mediated offenders (Umbreit, Coates & Kalanj, 1994). In addition, 41% of the new offences committed by mediated offenders were classified as "less serious" compared to only 12% of the non-mediated group" (http://www.justice.gc.ca...).

It is because anarchy has not been seen on any large scale in recent history, that I miswrote that it "could" be the best form of government. I hope I have shown reasons why anarchy would be the best form of government.
David_Debates

Con

As con, I'll rebut Pro's claims.

Statement: "States discriminate more than just 'law abiders' and 'law breakers.' (offers example of racial bias)"
Response: Racism is a problem in any community. As I've stated previously, Pro must be able to show that this problem is intrinsic with all governments apart from anarchism if he really claims that this tends to prove anarchism is the best form of government. If anything, allowing people to form communities that have no coercive power would exaggerate this problem. Communities would not only be divided by ideals, but also by race, which is the textbook definition of racism, if the society was indeed made up of racists. As such, anarchism would never be the solution to the problem, as if the country is already racist, allowing them to form racist communities could never solve the problem of racism.

Statement: "Anarchism does not create a state, instead, power is concentrated in the freely associated communities."
Response: You are being very loose with the term "state." A state is defined to be a government, which is sovereign, that presides over its citizens. If Pro is willing to state that these communities are
a) associated by their members, thereby being sovereign,
b) has the ability to coerce (Pro conceded this in R2), and
c) has the power to punish and protect (also conceded by Pro),
then Pro has conceded that anarchy creates states, be it 1 or 200, and as such, has not remained topical and contradicted his very resolution.

Statement: "Greece is not an anarchy, it is closer to a failed state."
Response: Agreed. Greece is a horrid example of any government, as there is no power for Greece to coerce its citizens. This is the problem with the government losing the ability to coerce, as without that power, the state will inevitably fail.

Statement: "It was Greece's corrupt democracy and capitalist system that failed the people and led to the need for anarchists to step in to help feed and care for people and deal with wrongdoing drug dealers."
Response: I disagree. Anarchists were not needed to care for people, charity was needed. If you are to claim that anarchists are responsible for dealing with wrongdoing drug dealers, you claim that gangs of organized thugs that coerce these drug dealers are somehow the savior to Greece's citizens. Remember here, Pro, that these anarchists are certainly not the only people helping the Greeks, rather, that outside forces have lead to actual support of the needy. Anarchists represent an insignificant portion of this assistance, and are irrelevant when determining the success of an anarchistic society.

Statement: "I think I left out an essential element of government in m earlier definition--a government should provide for the needs of its citizens."
Response: I wholeheartedly disagree with this. You offer a utilitarianistic political philosophy, if I understand this argument correctly. Yet this completely contradicts your earlier statement of what a government ought to do: protection of individual rights. How can a government provide for the needs of its citizens if not by necessity taking away the rights of its citizens? Think of governmental policies, any that provide support for their citizens. All of them require one thing in common: taxes. It would be impossible to provide governmental services without the ability for a government to coerce its citizens into paying taxes, and taxes violate one's right to keep what they own (private property rights). Your decision, Pro: either we ought to protect our rights to property and liberty by removing coercion from our government, or we craft a government that can provide for the needs of its citizens that inevitably violates their individual rights. Before I offer further argument, I request that you take a stand on this issue, and tell me which is true anarchism.

Statement: "You still don't seem to argue explicitly that unity should be a goal of government."
Response: I apologize if my argument was not explicit enough. Unity is certainly a goal of government, as no government could exist without it.

Statement: "The constitution had to be unanimously approved..."
Response: Little history lesson, Pro: the Constitution did not require unanimous consent. Did you take any US History classes? It's true that it was eventually agreed upon by all the colonies, but not at first. In order for the Constitution to be considered the new supreme law of the land, it required ratification, or for 9 of the 13 colonies to agree upon it (1). This in fact proves that the United States is based on the idea that power for the super majority to coerce the minority is a good thing, a goal of government, as it acquires unity, and that unanimous consent is a terrible policy to enact in any government, as it splits us apart.

Statement: "I don't believe Con has shown that anarchy does not have the "power to coerce in order to secure rights."
Response: Here's where I got that statement, Pro. " It utilizes non-coercive consensus building as a means of making community decisions (R2, Pro)." This is your definition for an anarchy, a society that makes decisions without the power to coerce. If Pro states that anarchy is just a way to eventually create a government, then anarchy is not the government itself, thereby meaning that Pro definition contradicts the resolution. If Pro states that this is the government, then it is not anarchy, but instead a confederation, or a system of government that requires unanimous consent in order to pass legislation. Either way, both of these definitions contradict the actually resolution Pro claims to uphold, or is off topic because it describes a system of government that is not an anarchy at all.

Statement: "I want a socialist anarchy, as it is the closest to the optimum form of government."
Response: Although I understand your arguments against a capitalistic democracy, this is a topic for a potential future debate. What we need to focus on here is the difference between anarchy and democracy, how they choose to provide public goods is of no concern to this debate. Rather, we must address the way these governments are formed, not how the provide resources. If after this debate you would like to challenge me on how to best distribute goods, I'd be more than happy to accept. Until then, this point is irrelevant.

Statement: "Direct action is an example of anarchy protecting other's rights."
Response: All governments can have direct action. The direct action you offer is when government fails and is unable to protect your rights, therefore, you take matters into your own hands. This is not a government at all. A government requires there to be some law, some ability to show that you have at least sovereignty over the matter in question. Police officers who carry out the law in the US show a warrant for sovereignty over a search. Your claim is that no sovereignty is required, after all, they are taking matters into their own hands. This is dangerous, as individuals can claim a moral high ground for justification for almost anything. Beating up drug dealers is one thing, beating up someone you disagree with because you think they shouldn't be allowed to talk is another. Both are direct action, and both would occur in an anarchy.
This is only one example. There are countless other examples of vigilante "justice" that has resulted in the removal of human rights and a "survival of the fittest" rule, not a unifying society like the one Pro would have you believe in.

Statement: Pro offers evidence that restorative justice is better than a punishment-centrist justice system.
Response: My two objections have already been stated, one lies in the inability to coerce, the second that socialistic policies vs right-wing policies are irrelevant when applied to this debate.

If you misspoke last round, then there is no harm.

Sources:
(1) https://www.archives.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
3_LITTLE_birds

Pro

First, let me say that I am not claiming that anarchist governments would solve every problem the world has, that is absurd.

Statement: "Racism is a problem in any community... Communities [would be divided by race]."
Response: It is because of state-created institutions that racism is a problem. While we could argue about the true, essential reason for why racism exists, this would be irrelevant. What is pertinent is that, in America, the economic institutions initially endorsed by various monarchies led to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which exploited the labor of and destroyed the lives of many thousands of people. This economic institution was upheld by the American democracy once the country gained its independence. This is getting somewhat off topic, as it is really amoral capitalism that was the economic institution which led to these atrocities, not directly the fault of the monarchy or democracy. However, once people become accustomed to the concentration of power in the hands of the few, as in any type of government aside from anarchy, they readily accept capitalism as the inevitable way of the world because it also tends to concentrate power. Without the concentration of power in the African tribes as well as the European monarchies, the slave trade could never have occurred.

Anarchy is as much a philosophy as it is a political theory. Its philosophy is that all people should be treated equally and that this is impossible when hierarchies exist and power is concentrated rather than distributed. As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. As to whether anarchists communities would be divided on the lines of race it is impossible to know what would happen, however the anarchist philosophy is vehemently anti-racist and anti-classist.

"If there is a State, there must be domination of one class by another and, as a result, slavery; the State without slavery is unthinkable"and this is why we are the enemies of the State." --Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin

Statement: "...communities that have no coercive power..."
Response: Okay, we really need to get on the same page about how "coercive" was used in my definition of anarchy. First of all, the context was "non-coercive consensus building," which simply means consensus building without one individual or group using threats or power over others to persuade them to agree with them. Aside from that, it has nothing to do with the function of anarchist governing at large. Of course there are some societal needs which require coercion, for example as in the rehabilitation of criminals. This is not at odds with anarchist philosophy.

Statement: "...anarchy creates states..."
Response: When a state is defined as "a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially one that is sovereign" (Mirriam Webster app), and when sovereign is defined as "having independent authority and the right to govern itself" then, yes anarchy creates states. I concede this point, but find it irrelevant to the argument at hand.

Statement: "[The Greek government lost] its ability to coerce..."
Response: On the contrary, the Greek government coerced its citizens too far with its austerity measures, leading them to reject its sovereignty over them. This abuse of power is exactly what an anarchist government is designed to avoid.

Statement: "I disagree. Anarchists were not needed to care for people, charity was needed."
Response: I have provided evidence via journalism that Greek anarchists have helped maintain life in Greece. I refuse to speculate as to whether there could be enough outside charity to prop up an ailing Greek economy. Notice Con is not denying that the actions of Greek anarchists have had a positive impact in the country's time of crisis.

Statement: "...either we ought to protect our rights to property and liberty by removing coercion from our government, or we craft a government that can provide for the needs of its citizens that inevitably violates their individual rights."
Response: Anarchy is not synonymous with unrestricted liberty. Taxing citizens is not a violation of their individual rights, rather it is an extension of the social contract whereby individuals willingly concede certain rights to live in a sovereign entity. That is the basis of any government. Without that is the state of nature discussed by Hobbes and Locke and sometimes referred to as the state of war. Therefore citizens of an anarchist state must concede certain rights or face the consequences as in any functioning government. Also, anarchists are not the least bit concerned with the conventional idea of private property.

Statement: "...no government could exist without [unity]."
Response: I agree with this, yet find it disturbing that every form of government aside from anarchy discriminates between classes of people while it claims to unify them, e.g. common citizens and senators.

Statement: "In order for the Constitution to be considered the new supreme law of the land, it required...9 of the 13 colonies to agree upon it."
Response: Yes, that was written into the document, but the authors knew what a catastrophe it would be if only 9 states ratified it and that it would have no effect over the other four states had they decided not to accede to it. Your source, Con is wonderful fodder for my argument for anarchism in its illustration of the Antifederalists' concerns about the new document,

"Those known as Antifederalists opposed the Constitution for a variety of reasons. Some continued to argue that the delegates in Philadelphia had exceeded their congressional authority by replacing the Articles of Confederation with an illegal new document. Others complained that the delegates in Philadelphia represented only the well-born few and consequently had crafted a document that served their special interests and reserved the franchise for the propertied classes. Another frequent objection was that the Constitution gave too much power to the central government at the expense of the states"

Statement: "Claiming moral high ground for justification for almost anything [is direct action] and...would occur in an anarchy."
Response: You are correct that direct action can be dangerous when it is perverted to commit acts that have resulted in innocent casualties. My definition of direct action was erroneous. Direct action really refers to destructive and disruptive actions against the state in which the anarchist rebellion is occurring. Vigilante justice is undesirable and I believe an anarchist society would need to have peace officers who are charged with maintaining the rules but do not have any authority over the general public. I admit this is an incredibly delicate balance that would need constant scrutiny as in committees that review their conduct on an ongoing basis.

On a side note, I am really enjoying this debate. Thanks for putting your time and effort into it, Con.
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by idisagreewithyou 2 years ago
idisagreewithyou
hahaha, Anarchy = government
Posted by David_Debates 3 years ago
David_Debates
Anarchy isn't a form of government. Why did you challenge me to this debate?
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